WWF Statement on the Convention on Biological Diversity COP-12

Posted on October, 18 2014

WWF welcomes the outcomes of CBD COP-12 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Important steps were taken to advance the mechanisms for identification and protection of biodiversity.
On 17 October 2014 the Convention on Biological Diversity concluded its 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In response, the WWF CBD delegation issued the following statement:
WWF welcomes the outcomes of CBD COP-12. Important steps were taken to advance the mechanisms for identification and protection of biodiversity. Governments of the world unanimously called for the new development agenda to integrate biodiversity into universal sustainable development goals in the Gangwon Declaration, the high level ministerial statement.

However, at a time when the world has seen the loss of more than half of the planet’s wildlife populations, countries are neither moving fast enough nor doing enough to prevent further decline. Governments must supercharge efforts to fulfill their promise to strengthen protections for nature by 2020. In 2010, parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a strategic plan and the Aichi targets, a set of 20 goals aimed at stemming species and habitat loss by 2020. WWF’s Living Planet Report confirms the urgency with which the world must act to safeguard our natural treasures:
  • Species populations worldwide have declined 52 percent since 1970;
  • The there is a 76 % decline in freshwater species a 39% decline in marine species and nearly 40% decline in terrestrial species;
  • Global freshwater demand is projected to exceed current supply by more than 40% by 2030;
  • We need 1.5 planets to meet the demands we make on the planet each year.
Protecting biodiversity is of paramount importance to ensuring a sustainable future for all. Biodiversity and ecosystem services guarantee human health, well-being and social stability, and provide the foundation of prosperity, including jobs, food, water, and healthy soils. Forest ecosystems alone contribute US$ 720 billion to the global economy.  And wetlands provide us with clean water, while oceans give us sustenance.
Each of us, no matter where we live or how we make a living, has a stake in ensuring governments succeed in taking urgent and impactful action. To that end, WWF’s delegation at CBD COP-12 was sought after for their technical and policy expertise on many issues, including marine and coastal biodiversity, implementation of national action plans, sustainable development goals and integration of conservation, ecosystem conservation and restoration, and impacts of climate change. The following summary provides details on progress made during CBD COP-12 and WWF’s reaction to key steps taken.
Global Biodiversity Outlook Report
The fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO4) sent a strong message, one echoed by WWF’s 2014 Living Planet Report, that some progress has been made but business as usual will not achieve the Aichi targets by 2020. The COP urges Parties to take comprehensive and urgent measures necessary to ensure the full implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and corresponding national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs).

National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans
The COP urged Parties that have not yet done so, to review and update and revise their national biodiversity strategies and action plans in line with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, to adopt indicators at the national level no later than October 2015, and to submit their fifth national reports. The COP also called for the provision of support for revising, updating and implementing updated NBSAPs and capacity-building.

The level of ambition was far from meeting the needs that arise from the information provided in GBO4 and the results of the High Level Panel on resources needed for the Aichi targets. However, commitment made by developed countries to doubling international financial flows for biodiversity offers hope. In most countries, domestic resources form the substantial part of biodiversity funding. It is a positive first step that all Parties agreed to mobilize domestic financial resources from all sources to reduce the gap on financing their respective NBSAPs. It is also encouraging that Parties increased efforts on capacity building for mobilizing resources. The decision also includes milestones for eliminating or phasing out incentives, including subsidies that are harmful for biodiversity, which WWF believes is important for reducing the pressure on biodiversity and its associated costs.

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
With regards to “Marine and Coastal Biodiversity,” WWF sincerely congratulates Parties on the acknowledgement of more than 150 “ecologically or biologically significant marine areas” in different parts of our world’s oceans—in areas within as well as beyond the jurisdiction of coastal states.
In light of the increasing human impacts on our oceans, it is critical that Parties now develop appropriate approaches and measures for these areas to ensure that the biodiversity and ecosystem services contained therein are sustainably maintained, as already agreed under the Achi Targets.
Finally, as the evidence for impacts of sound on marine life now is overwhelming, WWF welcomes the progress that was made with Parties agreeing on a number of relevant and required measures that need to be taken to minimize and mitigate impacts of anthropogenic underwater noise and on priority actions to protect coral reefs and associated ecosystems.

Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration
WWF welcomes the outcome of the COP-12 on Agenda Item 26, Ecosystem Conservation and Restoration. WWF particularly welcomes the acknowledgment of the need to develop a monitoring system for ecosystem degradation and restoration (paragraph 4.g), as well as the inclusion of the marine sphere in the development of spatial planning approaches for the reduction of habitat loss and the promotion of restoration (paragraph 4.a). Furthermore, WWF welcomes the recognition of the crucial role of indigenous and local communities in the conservation and management of biodiversity, and of the importance of protecting and restoring coastal wetlands as crucial for biodiversity, ecosystem services, livelihoods, climate change and disaster risks reduction (paragraph 6). However, WWF believes that more efforts should be made for ensuring sufficient financing and including the protection and restoration of ecosystems in national and sub-national development programs and public policies.
The COP recognized the contribution of private protected areas, in addition to public and indigenous and local community managed areas, in the conservation of biodiversity, and encourages the private sector to continue its efforts to protect and sustainably manage ecosystems for the conservation of biodiversity.

Biodiversity and Climate Change
The COP expressed concern about the findings and conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fifth Assessment Report, and urges Parties, other governments, relevant organizations and stakeholders to take steps to address all biodiversity-related impacts of climate change highlighted in the report and to further strengthen synergies with relevant work under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
WWF encourages Parties other governments to promote and implement ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and to integrate these into their national policies and programmes in the context of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015, endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 60/195, and the revised Framework to be adopted at the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. WWF also welcomes the references to the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, and those to indigenous and local communities and traditional knowledge (preambular paragraph 4).

Nagoya Protocol  
The Nagoya Protocol, a treaty expected to ensure greater access to genetic resources and a mandatory fair sharing of the benefits that could be derived from those resources, entered into force on 12 October, almost four years after it was adopted on 29th October 2010. WWF applauds this progress and encourages further inclusion of representatives of indigenous and local communities.

Indigenous Knowledge Preservation and Recognition
The final resolution on use of the terminology “indigenous peoples and local communities” (Article 8J) in future decisions and secondary documents of the COP comes with caveats and will not have a bearing on any past decisions or change the meaning of the Text of the Convention. Nevertheless, WWF welcomes this decision as it has been a long-standing demand of Indigenous and Local Communities (ILCs) and also a recommendation of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
The COP encouraged parties and ILCs to consider how indigenous and local communities might effectively participate in the development, collection and analysis of data, including through Community-Based Monitoring, and further explore how ILCs’ Community-Based Monitoring and Information Systems can contribute to monitoring of Aichi Target indicators. The plan of action on customary sustainable use of biological diversity was also endorsed and there is a request for support for ILCs to develop community plans and protocols to document, map, and register their community conservation areas.
Tigers are among the world’s most threatened species, with only an estimated 3,200 remaining in the wild.
Tigers are among the world’s most threatened species, with only an estimated 3,200 remaining in the wild.
© Martin Harvey / WWF